Are American women third world women? Reading various articles about women’s rights and the women’s march in January would lead one to think just that. As I began my readings, I discovered I was, as a woman, a minority. My physical attributes, which make me female, were under attack and needed protection by the government. Even the old adage “women are paid less”, which has been widely debunked, was brought back to life. So I pondered, what I lived through, how women have advanced in society starting with the colonial days, thru my lifetime (Note: I was born in the 1960’s), up to today.
One article (You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry; by Dina Leygerman) tells me I am not equal while telling me to thank the women who fought for my equality. This contradiction within this article intrigued me immensely. There are many other points within this article that leave me scratching my head. Including points left unmentioned. The writer makes a point that I should Thank the women, who fought for me. However, there is absolutely no mention of the American Founding Fathers. First, let me say I do thank the women and the men who came before me, who believed in the equality of humans. Although the feminist, Dina, neglects to thank men, I am sure she meant to do so.
Susan B Anthony is the first woman she lists to thank. Susan was indeed a fascinating, Christian woman. She was a Quaker. According to the Susan B Anthony Museum website, “her Quaker family had a long activist tradition.” Quakers were extremely instrumental in the foundation of America. Susan B. Anthony lived in a time when women did not have certain rights, but she had more than her English and European sisters. The American Founding Fathers disagreed with England’s primogeniture. Thus American women were allowed to inherit from their parents. Also, the Founders gave her other blessings such as free speech and the right to peaceably assemble. Both of which Susan practiced during her fight as a Suffragist. It should be noted Susan B. Anthony believed drinking liquor was “sinful” and this leads to her belief that women should vote to affect public laws pertaining to temperance. As I said fascinating, Christian woman.
Eleanor Roosevelt was another woman to thank for her “ability to work in politics and affect policy”. I am not certain if Dina is aware that all First Ladies have affected policy, but I am. Eleanor disagreed with segregation thus disagreeing with her husband, FDR. She also, spoke out against anti-Japanese prejudice following Pearl Harbor, while FDR signed the Executive Order, which forced Japanese-Americans into “camps”. But where is the mention of other First Ladies? What about Abigail Adams? Abigail was the person her husband, John Adams, turned to for advice. In the book John Adams by David McCullough, it is revealed how influential she was. She also is known for promoting education for girls that was equal to what was given to boys. She even advocated for a woman’s right to vote. So you see the Founding Mothers were important too.
The list of women to thank within her article includes at least twenty women. I will not go over everyone but will point out a couple more of her choices.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on her list, but not the first woman Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Conner. Why? Is it politics? Since the first woman on the court was appointed by a Conservative Republican, President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Sandra Day O’Conner was the first woman Majority Leader in the Arizona State Senate. Among many other accomplishments, Sandra Day O’Connor was named among the most Powerful Women in the World. Pretty impressive. She is considered a Federalist (Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were Federalists) and a Moderate. On the other hand, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the second on the court appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Democrat. She volunteered for the ACLU and was a professor at Rutgers School of Law. She is considered Liberal. Both are successful women and both represent the advancements women have made since the inception of the United States of America. Ms. Leygerman choices seem merely related to her politics.
The final person she mentions that I will address is Margaret Sanger. This is a truly disturbing choice to champion. If you, reader, are unaware, Margaret Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood. Catchy title. If you only look at the title, you are missing what its founding advocacy is about. To see what Ms. Sanger wanted, you need only look at her writings. The following can be found at http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm On blacks, immigrants, and indigents:
“…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people. On sterilization & racial purification: Sanger believed that, for the purpose of racial “purification,” couples should be rewarded who chose sterilization. Birth Control in America, The Career of Margaret Sanger, by David Kennedy, p. 117, quoting a 1923 Sanger speech. On the purpose of birth control: The purpose in promoting birth control was “to create a race of thoroughbreds,” she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921. On the extermination of blacks: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon. There are so many disturbing examples, but I will end there. I will never be among those who would consider Margaret Sanger as someone to thank or admire.
Ms. Leygerman goes on to tell me I am not equal. Well, in the sight of the law, I am. In the mindset of some, no probably not. She goes on to say I still make less than a man for doing the same work.She speaks of a study (unnamed) but only looks at the headline. The simple headline suggests women are paid less but the meat of the study proves out the reasons. Well, the headline has been debunked by looking into the study and by others studies, too. Men tend to work longer hours leading to higher pay. Women tend to take time off to have children, while men continue working gaining experience. Women may even decide to stop working for several years to raise their children before going back to work. I would hope that Ms. Leygerman pays the women, who provide care to her children, with the exact same pay she herself earns. This could close the statistical pay gap. Men tend to go into fields of higher pay while women tend to choose to study and enter fields which are paid less. These simple examples are among many other reasons explaining the fictitious pay gap. The numbers look good on paper, but when you read the studies you can learn a lot.
Ms. Leygerman goes on and on listing examples she thinks are real to show her side. Such as, “you still have to pay tax on your sanitary needs”. Dina must not understand, there is no federal sales tax, yet. So the tax on her feminine products is written in her state tax code. Some states, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Jersey do not in fact tax these items. She also claims that new mothers cannot breastfeed in public. Interestingly, I did in the 1990’s and was never arrested nor harassed. I wonder why? Maybe, it was because I used the baby’s blanket to keep me and my babies covered. Modesty is a powerful thing and not controversial.
Ms. Leygerman goes on to list a lot of statistics but offers no sources. Throwing out that Singapore women feel safer than American women, for example. What about Afghanistan women? Why not compare us to them? Well, that is simple. That is her politics again. I get it. She is entitled to her political opinion, but so are the women, who have a different view and a different political bent. While growing up in a rural area, I felt extremely safe. I often could be found walking miles alone, even through the woods. Back in the 1970’s, we were not bombarded nightly with horrific news from around the nation. If someone was missing in the nearby city, we heard about it, but not if someone was missing in another state on another coast. Today, there are alerts sent out for missing people. You even see them as you drive down the highway. This adds to our awareness but also, our fears. So I don’t believe comparing us to Singapore is exactly fitting.
Ms. Leygerman says we don’t want to admit we are victims, we don’t believe we are oppressed, and our equality is an illusion. Well, my eyes are open, wide open. I don’t “want to feel empowered” because my mother’s and father’s before me gave me just that, empowerment. I am not nor never have been a victim. I am not nor have I ever been oppressed. I am not a woman living in a third world country. I vote, drive a car, and wear whatever I like, whenever I like. I can walk down the road without a man. I can talk to men. I am educated and have supported my family on my income. Women in this country, who are physically assaulted or anything else, are not stoned to death. They actually get to take the attacker to court.
I am saddened that Dina doesn’t see it. Her eyes are clouded by shouts of victimhood and hostility for manhood. I have seen how instead of raising up women, the feminists have resorted to trying to tear down men. Masculinity is frowned upon. As I raised my son, I loved watching him be a little man. I never liked the phrase, “boys will be boys”. I raised a man, not a boy so my son will be a man. My daughter was raised to be a woman, not a girl. She has strength and dignity, just like her brother. While she is feminine, he is masculine. I thank my father and mother for raising me to be a strong, feminine and dignified woman.
I have seen how the Women’s Equality Movement and Feminism have always clashed. I have always been supportive of the Women’s Equality Movement, but not feminism. I have watched as women like Dina shout down women like me simply because we see the world differently. I have lived through women being told they can be anything they want, do anything they want, and then be ridiculed by women for choosing motherhood over career. If we are free to choose, then women should be the first to support that choice, too. I was raised without being told I was a victim while Dina was raised to believe she was. I was shown how women in other cultures were oppressed and appreciated what America offered us. I was raised to appreciate men for their masculinity while Dina apparently was not.
I was raised to understand the founding of this great nation. I was blessed to have teachers, parents, and grandparents, who taught me that American Equality is in the sight of the law, not equality of things. I may not be able to bench press 300 pounds like my brother, but I can learn as easily. Physically, I am different. but thanks to our Founding Fathers and Mothers, I was given equal opportunity to learn.
“….. to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them……. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Although, today I wonder if they are self-evident to some because there is a lack of understanding. Some do not understand that “men” means mankind and “the pursuit of happiness” is not a guarantee of happiness.
You march. You have that right.( First Amendment) I will continue to speak out against you and your opinions. I have that right. (First Amendment) God Bless America and keep our Constitution intact. Amen.